10/10/2013 11:50 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2013

Ted Yoho Says Furloughed Government Employees Don't Deserve Back Pay


WASHINGTON -- Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) said Thursday he doesn't think furloughed government workers should receive back pay -- even though he voted less than a week ago to give it to them.

A caller to a telephone town hall meeting told Yoho that he believed federal employees who continued working during the shutdown deserved pay. "But the people that are home watching Netflix and whatever, I'm not sure that we should be sending them checks," the caller said.

"Well, when we voted on that, they were supposed to come back to work as part of that deal," Yoho responded. "I agree 100 percent with you. If they're not working, they shouldn't get paid."

Every member of the House -- including Yoho -- voted Saturday in favor of giving back pay to furloughed federal employees once the shutdown ends.

About 500,000 federal employees deemed "nonessential" remain out of work in the shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said it's wrong to keep workers from their jobs, even with the promise of eventual pay. "It's really cruel to tell workers they'll receive back pay once the government opens and then refuse to open the government," Reid said. "Let's open the government. Hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal servants want to work. They should be allowed to work."

Yoho has been criticized for claiming this week that if the U.S. fails to increase its borrowing limit and defaults on government debt, the economy could actually benefit. In an interview with The Washington Post, Yoho said the country needed "to have that moment where we realize [we’re] going broke."

"I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets,” he said.

Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) told MSNBC's Chris Hayes that he believed that notion to be "crazy talk."



2013 Government Shutdown